Henoch-Schonlein purpura is a type of vasculitis that affects your capillaries, causing a purple spot rash when they break.Your broken capillary rash will typically start by looking like hives or angioedema, then morph into something similar to a bruise.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura’s rash most frequently appears on the legs and buttocks. And its purple spot doesn’t blanch when pressed.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura’s inflammation can also cause broken capillary bleeding in your joints, intestines and kidneys. If that is your case, joint issues, intestinal problems and glomerulonephritis will accompany your purple spots. So beyond the vasculitis caused purpura rash, you may experience symptoms like:
- bloody stools
- abdominal pain
- peripheral edema
- nausea & vomiting
- painful menstruation
Sometimes, kidney damage can occur, causing symptoms of hematuria and proteinuria. This can become a serious health problem because it could lead to end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. Albeit, this is very rare.
What actually causes Henoch-Schonlein purpura isn’t precisely known. Yet, your inflamed, broken capillaries indicates an inappropriate immune system response.
In about half the cases, Henoch-Schonlein purpura develops following an upper respiratory infection. So it’s believed that after a bacterial or viral infection, vasculitis occurs because your immune system fails to shut down once its response is successful. Some examples of infectious causes and infections are:
- strep throat
- common cold
- Epstein-Barr virus
This theory explains some, but not all of the cases of purple spot rashes. As such, these additional allergen triggers are believed to be associated with Henoch-Schonlein purpura broken capillaries:
- insect bites
- cold weather
- certain drugs ~ antibiotics, antihistamines
- some vaccinations ~ measles, typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis B
Sometimes, a cause may never be identified for your episode of vasculitis.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura usually clears on its own without treatment nor long lasting health effects. Takes about a month for the purple spot rash of broken capillaries to be reabsorbed. To relieve symptoms of vasculitis pain and swelling, OTC analgesic or anti inflammatory are often suggested.
And it’s not unusual for this tiny vessel breaking form of vasculitis to recur.